After a devastating triple overtime defeat to the Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday, Virginia Tech fell in a tough road game against No. 6 Duke in Cameron Indoor 88-64.
The start was not what the Hokies were hoping for, as the Blue Devils started 4-5 from behind the arc with two three-pointers from both Cassius Stanley and Tre Jones. This lifted Duke up to an early 16-7 lead within the first five minutes.
Duke continued to hit the right stride in the first half, building their lead up to 21-point advantage with 61.9% shooting from the field including an insane 67% from behind the arc.
Cassius Stanley (14 points) and Vernon Carey Jr. (11) both were in double figures for the Blue Devils in the first half, and were shooting 48.6 percent from the field including 53.3 percent from behind the arc.
The Hokies had a half to forget, as three starters were held scoreless and the team shot less than 30 percent from the floor, giving Duke a 51-25 halftime lead. The bright side for the Hokies were that Tyrece Radford (8) and Isaiah Wilkins (7) were the leading scorers at the intermission.
Wilkins, who has had a limited role this season, was pleased with his play with his success being due in part to a mentality of always being ready to play.
“I feel like I played alright,” said sophomore Isaiah Wilkins. “I don’t know when I am going to play, I just know I have to be ready to play when I do.”
Another area where the Blue Devils won their early battles against the Hokies was in the paint. Duke outrebounded Virginia Tech 28-14 on the boards and won the first half points in the paint battle 20-8.
Duke's size was causing early problems for the Hokies and there was no clear answer in stopping the Blue Devils. Four Duke players ended up in double figures with Cassius Stanley leading the way with 21 while the aforementioned Vernon Carey had the type of success that he normally has in the paint.
As the second half started, the Hokies hung in it with the Blue Devils for the early portion, but the Blue Devils found their rhythm and leveraged themselves to a 67-39 lead, Duke's largest of the game.
Towards the end of the game, Virginia Tech had some positive moments to feel good about, including a 7-2 run by Hunter Cattoor to bring the score within 20. The freshman finished with 10 points on the night.
Although the game was all but gone for the Hokies, the young team continued to hang around and provide some solid moments in an electric atmosphere that many of the players had yet to experience.
Duke finished the game off and put a bow on an overall impressive performance on the night, cementing a dominant 88-64 victory over the Hokies.
The top performers for the Hokies in Saturday’s game were freshman Tyrece Radford, who recorded team-highs with 13 points and 9 rebounds, and Isaiah Wilkins, who tallied 11 points and a team-high 5 assists.
Up next for the Hokies is a renewal of the Commonwealth Clash on February 26th at Cassell Coliseum and another opportunity for this young Virginia Tech squad to go up against a team that looks destined for the NCAA Tournament in Virginia.